Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SCOTUS Pick To Be Announced Tonight

President Trump's nominee to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia will be announced tonight, in prime time, at 8pm EST. During the campaign, Mr. Trump released a list of 21 potential nominees. That list has been whittled down to the two or maybe three finalists.

The three reported to be on the final list are Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 11th Circuit, and Judge William Pryor of the 5th Circuit. Of those three, Judge Pryor is considered to be the most contentious choice as he was barely confirmed when appointed to the Court of Appeals. He is also a protegee' of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.

According to CNN, Judges Hardiman and Gorsuch have been brought to Washington which would seem to indicate it is now down to those two.

The SCOTUS Blog has done a good job of summarizing the background of the three finalists.

All three are youngish, conservative, and have good credentials. However, only Judge Hardiman has ruled on Second Amendment issues directly. He had a 40-page dissent in Drake v. Filko which centered around the impediments that New Jersey puts on obtaining a carry permit. His dissent would make him appear to believe that the right of self-defense is guaranteed both inside and outside the home. Second Amendment attorneys David Jensen and Alan Gura were the attorneys of record for the plaintiff in the appeal. Jensen commented on a post I had on Facebook today that he thought it was a good dissent. That sounds good to me.

Of course, given President Trump, this could all be window-dressing and he nominates either Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). They would already be in DC and bringing Judges Hardiman and Gorsuch to town was to throw off the media.

UPDATE: Politico and Independent Journal Review are reporting that "Trump insiders" have confirmed that Judge Neil Gorsuch will get the nod. We'll see.

UPDATE II: Interesting trivia on Judge Gorsuch - his mother was Ronald Reagan's first head of the EPA, Anne Gorsuch, who was forced out of office over a House contempt citation pertaining to toxic waste clean-up records. She was never charged with a crime despite allegations.

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